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Middle East Near You

All Stories Archive

  • On the Savage Ad and Western Values

    The incident about the subway ad sponsored by anti-Muslim activist Pamela Geller (“In any war between the civilized man and the savage support the civilized man. Support Israel, defeat Jihad”), and the arrest of Mona Eltahawy over spray painting the ad, leaves one disillusioned with many of the Western...
  • The anti-Islamic bait and freedom of expression

    The anti-Islam film, Innocence of Muslims, was brought from obscurity by the Egyptian television, al-Nas, and transformed by interested parties into a means to mobilize Muslims across the world against the West, and particularly the United States. The controversy generated by the film and the ensuing protests enabled French...
  • Ramadhan in London: A microcosm of the Arab world

    I love the spiritual side of Ramadan in London,” Houda Mizioudet from Tunisia who is holidaying in London told the Tripoli Post. I don’t like Ramadan in Tunisia. I love the cosmopolitan side of London. You go to different London mosques. In any London mosque you find people from...
  • Recycling in Rafah

    Women wearing luminous orange vests and huge red rubber gloves sort through the cans and plastic bags passing by on the conveyor belt before them. The masks that cover their faces protect them from the hazardous gas released from the rubbish, as well as the stench. Outside, their colleagues...
  • New law in Egypt hopes to turn the lights out by midnight

    If you have a craving for coffee in the middle of the night in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, it’s not difficult to find a café that’s open 24/7. The glare of light from the shops downtown fills the street well into the early hours; taxis roam the streets through...
  • Palestinian non-violent activism at Bab al Shams and the right to territory

    In a move designed to challenge Israeli expansion in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, a group of about 250 Palestinians claimed to have established the village of Bab al Shams in an area of land called E1 and the site of forthcoming illegal Israeli settlements.  The village’s name, borrowed from...
  • Demographics in the Negev: oppression against the Bedouin community

    Israel’s preoccupation with sustaining a demographic majority has shifted focus to the Bedouin community in the Negev. A significant area targeted since the commencement of the occupation, the Bedouin community has faced discriminative practices which disrupt basic services and access to electricity and water, as well as forced displacement,...
  • ‘Palestine to the ICC’ campaign gathers momentum

    Following the Israeli massacre during Operation Pillar of Defence and Palestine’s accession as a non-member state of the UN, many in Palestine have been clamouring for the right to indict Israeli officials for war crimes at the International Criminal Court. The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PHCR) launched its...
  • On the EU’s obligation to ban settlement produce

    The Palestinian human rights organization, Al Haq, recently published a position paper titled, ‘Feasting on the Occupation: Illegality of Settlement Produce and the Responsibility of EU Member States under International Law’. It provides a succinct debate about the economic repercussions for Palestinians and violation of international law by stakeholders...
  • UNHRC accuses Israel of restricting access to water “to trigger Palestinian displacement”

    Palestinians in the West Bank and Jerusalem suffer “inequitable” Israeli predominance over their water supplies, claims a report from the UN Human Rights Council. Indeed, Israeli violations of the human rights of Palestinians in the occupied territories are described as “institutionalised discrimination” in the report, which is the product...
  • Sovereignty and independence within a framework of occupation

    According to a report in the United Press International, Israel’s outgoing Deputy Foreign Minister, Danny Ayalon, stated that Israel should be willing to recognise Palestine if Palestinians are ready to give up ‘terrorism’. The veiled discourse of security can once again be discerned owing to Israel’s deconstruction of Palestinian...
  • Campaign to free Samer Issawi exposes international double standards on human rights

    Samer Issawi’s hunger strike in protest against administrative detention has exposed the myth of human rights organisations and the limits of official concern from the international community. The pervading silence about Issawi’s deteriorating conditions as a result of Israel’s apartheid and discriminative policies against Palestinians has been challenged by...
  • Israel’s dehumanisation of Palestinian children

    Far from the targeting of Palestinian children being a fabrication designed to gain sympathy, this reality was publicly exposed by IDF soldier Mor Ostrovski, who uploaded a photo to his Instagram account depicting a child seen through the cross hairs of a rifle. The photo generated outrage throughout social...
  • International ‘concern’ over resistance to administrative detention

    Administrative detention and the postponement of court hearings seem to go hand in hand with Israeli courts’ fabrication of justice. Samer Al Issawi and Ayman Al Sharawna have been once again shackled to their hunger strike, as deferrals pushed hearings to later dates, while solidarity with prisoners on hunger-strike...
  • America’s Jewish population drift away from Israel

    In an interview with the New Internationalist last year American scholar Norman Finkelstein pointed out recent, prominent defections from American support for Israel; New Yorker editor, David Remnick, previous editor of the New Republic Peter Beinhart and Nobel prize-winning and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman. Despite this, a...
  • Israeli discourse about “new intifada” is detached from colonial history

    Israel’s “concern” once again propels itself into news headlines as Tel Aviv warns that a “new intifada” could begin following the death of Ahmed Jaradat while being interrogated in Israeli custody. Refusing to accept responsibility for the escalation of protests against its policies, the government of Benjamin Netanyahu has...
  • Learning Hebrew in Gaza reflects the political context

    For the first time in twenty years, Hebrew is on the curriculum in Hamas-run schools in the Gaza Strip. Around 750 ninth-grade students are learning the language of Israel, under a pilot scheme that could be rolled out to other schools in the coming years. The Islamic University in...
  • Remembering Rachel Corrie ten years on

    On March 16, activists will be remembering the day when Israeli soldiers annihilated the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) activist Rachel Corrie’s life. Ten years ago, whilst striving to protect a Palestinian family home from possible demolition by Israeli soldiers, Corrie was crushed to death by a bulldozer – an...
  • In Jordan, young people are finding innovative ways to practice politics

    In Jordan, the parliamentary elections in January were viewed as little more than an exercise in public relations. At least this is the sentiment among those who oppose the election law on the basis that it endorses government loyalists and tribal leaders, excludes emerging political parties and represents a...
  • In Palestine, Israeli Youth Law has its own meaning

    Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem has revealed that this week Israeli soldiers arrested twenty-seven young Palestinians in route 160, Hebron, whilst they were on their way to school. At least 14 of them were under the age of 12 and some were as young as eight. Though they are...
  • Israel’s unscathed diamond trade contributes to Palestinian oppression

    Reports concerning conflict diamonds have largely dealt with labour exploitation and subsequent use of profits falling into the hands of rebel groups in Africa unleashing massacres on various communities – notoriously personified by Liberia’s Charles Taylor. The UN’s Kimberly Process Certification Scheme, described on its website as ‘unique and...
  • Living under a temporary injunction in Firing Zone 918

    On January 16, 2013 the Association for Civil Rights in Israel filed a petition against government plans to forcibly displace around 1,000 Palestinians living in rural villages in the Yatta District in South Hebron, known as Firing Zone 918. The High Court’s response was to issue a temporary injunction...
  • What has become of Syria? A country in crisis

    Syria once smelt of strong black coffee and sheesha pipes. People played backgammon in crowded coffee shops late into the night, whilst the aroma of fresh chicken drifted through the air from street stalls that lined the pavements. Markets were piled high with Syrian soap and wooden boxes with...
  • Medical neglect and death in Israeli jails

    If Israel had any ambition of appearing worthy of a humanitarian stance, it has failed miserably. Palestinian prisoner Maysara Abu Hamdiyeh was scheduled to be released from prison ‘in the following days’ after being diagnosed with terminal throat cancer. A few hours after the official statement was released, Abu...
  • The most dangerous country in the world to be a journalist

    Over the last two years, the Syrian conflict has claimed 70,000 lives and displaced one million people. It has also claimed the lives of a significant number of media workers and journalists. These include high profile foreign correspondents: the Sunday Times’ Marie Colvin, New York Times’ Anthony Shadid, and...
  • Justifying torture in the name of security

    “We are building our state and to me that matters more than causing harm to some group or individual.” This statement uttered by a former Palestinian Authority official to journalist David Rose reveals succinctly the official justification for torturing fellow Palestinians – fellow human beings   and passing off irreparable...
  • Official ‘concern’ over Issawi’s health

    Despite Samer Issawi’s consistent refusal to bargain with Israeli authorities, the past days have been replete with offers of exile in return for ending the hunger-strike. According to Jawad Boulos, lawyer for the Palestinian Prisoner Society, Issawi has been constantly visited by Israeli negotiators at the Kaplan Medical Center,...
  • Samer Issawi to be released

    In what is being considered a major victory against administrative detention, Samer Issawi has accepted an agreement negotiated by Israeli and Palestinian officials to end his hunger strike. The Palestinian Prisoner Organisation has stated that Issawi will serve eight months for the alleged violation of bail conditions, after which...
  • Residents of Gaza’s Swedish Village living in appalling conditions

    The village known as the Swedish Village, which was established by Swedish donors in 1965 on 40 dunams of land, has been forgotten with the passing of time. Situated along the Gaza beach near the Palestine-Egypt border, conditions in the village have deteriorated to the point that it is...
  • Human rights campaign against administrative detention

    The Palestinian Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association (Addameer) launched in April a global ‘Stop Administrative Detention Campaign’. The initiative seeks to highlight Israel’s human rights violations against Palestinian detainees, as well as create a platform through which this abuse of freedom can be challenged through international activism. The...
  • Gaza’s property boom is not the full story

    Last week, Channel 4’s Unreported World offered an insight into the Gaza Strip’s property market. With almost 2 million inhabitants trapped on a sliver of land 25 miles long, another half million people expected by 2020 and houses being destroyed by the conflict, “prices will soar,” reporter Seyi Rhodes...
  • Banning white phosphorus with the exception of undisclosed ‘extreme cases’

    Israel has informed the High Court of Justice that the Israeli army will halt the use of white phosphorus in civilian areas, following a petition from various human rights organisations which have long clamoured for a ban. However, the Israeli army reserves the right to use white phosphorus in...
  • 65 years on, and the Nakba continues

    Earlier this month, Israeli forces declared plans to demolish 11 homes in Deir Nidham in the northwest of Ramallah; their destruction will make way for the expansion of the Halamish settlement, which has been established on part of the village’s land. Authorities say the houses were built without permits...
  • My 12 Hour Detention At The Hands Of The Israeli Defense Forces

    I am a 38 year old white Caucasian United States natural born citizen and Muslim. The details that follow explain my treatment at the hands of the Israeli Defense Forces upon attempting to enter the West Bank of the occupied territories and East Jerusalem in May of 2013. I...
  • Israel expects its inflicted human rights violations be treated as acceptable

    After boycotting a scrutiny session earlier this year, deputy foreign minister Ze’ev Elkin has confirmed seeking reconciliation with the UN Human Rights Council, depending upon the council’s willingness to establish ‘fair treatment’ for Israel. Elkin stated, “After much deliberation I have recently agreed to diplomatic engagement with the council...
  • On the dehumanization of African migrants in Israel

    The right to land and the right to live have taken on a sinister dimension in Israel, as courts consider Israel’s ‘right’ to expel African migrants to an unidentified country in East Africa. The Supreme Court has requested that the government disclose all details of the forced transfer, including...
  • Arab Idol is about much more than just music

    For the past three months pop-star hopefuls from across the Middle East have assembled in MBC’s Beirut studios to compete for the title of Arab Idol. Every Friday they sing to a studio of fans, a panel of adjudicators and an audience at home who vote via text message...
  • I the Palestinian and my friend the Turk

    One of the most spectacular gifts that any of us may be granted by God during our lives is that you become acquainted with a brother not born of your mother, and with whom you have no ties save for feelings of friendship and love; a brotherhood wholly unmarred...
  • No remorse for destruction of Palestinian villages

    Former IDF commander, brigadier general of the Givati Brigade and Israeli ambassador to Tanzania, Yitzhak Pundak, expressed no remorse about the destruction of Palestinian villages in 1948, declaring it a necessity in order to establish the State of Israel. Speaking on Israeli army radio, Pundak asserted that he sleeps...
  • The terrible tragedy of the Prisoner Ahmed al-Sakani

    Imagine the story of a man waiting eagerly and anxiously for the arrival of his first born child, and as he waits, he is unjustly detained and sentenced to twenty-seven years behind bars. His wife gives birth to their child while he is in prison and the child grows...
  • Combatting Palestinian food insecurity

    According to the UN World Food Programme (WFP) and the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA), Palestinians are faced with an additional and possibly permanent burden. Food insecurity is causing hardships to Palestinians, with one in three households struggling to provide adequate nutrition for their families....
  • The ongoing humiliation of Palestinian prisoners

    While international outrage over the plight of Samer Issawi has abated considerably, after the agreement between Israeli and Palestinian officials which terminated his hunger strike, the deterioration of other Palestinian prisoners’ health has received scant attention in the mainstream media. A recent United Nations report highlights Israel’s human rights...
  • A deadly massacre on the eve of Ramadan

    This morning army and police officers opened fire on pro-Morsi supporters as they prayed outside the Republican Headquarters in Cairo. The demonstrators were staging a peaceful sit-in outside the building where their now overthrown leader is said to be held; they want Morsi to be reinstated before they leave....
  • EU parliament reminded of Palestinian political prisoners’ plight

    In a joint letter to the European Parliament, sixteen Palestinian and Israeli human rights organisations have urged the European Parliament to send a fact-finding mission to “assess the current situation with regard to the detention conditions of Palestinian prisoners, including women and children, and the use of administrative detention.”...
  • This Egyptian struggle transcends borders

    What is going on in Egypt is not merely a political crisis but also an Egyptian struggle which transcends borders and will, no doubt, affect the Islamic world, putting the latter at a crossroads. Will the people rise up for freedom from external influences or will they revert to...
  • Opposition to release of Palestinian political prisoners

    Israel’s reported decision to release 82 pre-Oslo Palestinian political prisoners has unleashed a furore among right wing Knesset members who are opposing the move. The prisoners who are mostly affiliated to Hamas, Fatah and Islamic Jihad are set to be released at intervals during the peace talks. Likud MK...
  • Proposed Knesset reforms would undermine Palestinian representation

    On Wednesday, the Knesset is expected to vote for parliamentary reform allegedly intended to preserve unity and enhance the government’s prospects of serving a full electoral mandate. Based upon the previous electoral results, smaller parties risk total exclusion from the Knesset unless party leaders decide to lay political differences...
  • Deconstructing resistance into a ‘hobby’

    “Children have hobbies, and my hobby is throwing stones.” The simplistic, out of context comment, uttered by a Palestinian teenager interviewed for a recently published New York Times report, sets the scene for the deconstruction of Palestinian resistance against the Israeli occupation. There is no further elaboration about the...
  • These violations of international law in Egypt must be challenged

    Recent dangerous developments led to overthrew of Egypt’s democratic experience whilst still in its infancy. These developments included constitutional violations, as well as violation of international law, which suggest the return of a repressive dictatorship and the end of the short-lived democratic experience in Egypt. Despite the justifications offered...
  • Israelis ‘concerned’ about Palestinian livelihood

    While Israel continues to defy international law by further settlement approval and a lack of cooperation with the European Union about the recently publish guidelines restricting projects in areas beyond the Green Line, the occupying power is now allegedly expressing ‘concern’ about the livelihood of Palestinians whose quality of...